ZIMBABWE – National Foods, a leading agri-industrial company in Zimbabwe, is set to become the nation’s first domestic company to manufacture pasta, a move expected to significantly cut the country’s annual US$40 million pasta import bill.

This development, revealed by the Minister of Industry and Commerce, Mangaliso Ndlovu, highlights a critical step towards reducing the nation’s dependency on imported goods and fostering local industrial growth.

Speaking at a workshop for the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Industry and Commerce and the Thematic Committee on Indigenization and Empowerment, Ndlovu emphasized the potential economic benefits of this initiative.

National Foods anticipates reducing pasta import costs by up to US$10 million annually.,” “With the right policy support, they have the capacity to supply the domestic market and even explore export opportunities fully,” he stated.

National Foods’ strategy includes contracting local wheat farmers and processing the wheat into flour, a move that aligns with efforts to enhance value addition and increase profit margins.

The company is also preparing to launch a biscuit factory, further diversifying its product range and boosting economic returns.

Ndlovu stressed that many of the goods currently imported could be produced locally, which would help mitigate Zimbabwe’s trade deficit.

 “We generate exports close to US$10 billion, yet we face a trade deficit due to our high import appetite,” he noted.

According to him, the country is spending approximately US$40 million annually on importing macaroni and spaghetti, primarily from Egypt, a development that depicts the country’s slow pace of industrialization.

Ndlovu pointed out that despite the availability of essential ingredients like flour and water, the country continues to import pasta, which could be produced locally.

He urged legislators to support the domestic currency and devise strategies to encourage its use, rather than relying on the USD.

The Minister also discussed the challenges of industrializing within a dollarized economy.

He argued that the reliance on foreign currency promotes a preference for imported goods, which stifles local manufacturing.

A dollarized economy gives consumers an appetite for imports, undermining our industrial growth,” Ndlovu explained.

Ndlovu acknowledged the challenges posed by sanctions, which restrict access to affordable capital and markets, further hampering industrial growth. “Sanctions make capital expensive or inaccessible, and market access minimal, which has significantly impacted our industries,” he said.

Speaker of Parliament Advocate Jacob Mudenda echoed Ndlovu’s sentiments, stressing the need for parliamentary collaboration with the populace to bolster the economy. “To achieve a macro-economy, parliament must work hand in hand with the people for industrialization,” Mudenda asserted.

Chief Director of Industry and Commerce Florence Makombe highlighted ongoing efforts to monitor business operations and identify export market opportunities for Zimbabwean products.

 “We are focused on boosting the country’s economy and industrialization by closely monitoring business activities and export markets,” she said.

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